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Capsule Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 01:04

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" – In theory, seeing Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy share the screen should be a delight. In reality, this seriocomic romp merely has its moments, but more often feels heavy-handed, sappy and overlong. Sure, it'll seem warm and crowd-pleasing but probably only to crowds of a certain age, who may relate to these characters who find themselves in flux in their twilight. Handsome as the film is from John Madden, who directed Dench to her supporting- actress Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love," it too often spells out too much, and features painfully literal symbolism like a bird taking flight at just the right time. Still, Dench does some of the loveliest work of her lengthy and esteemed career here as Evelyn, who's recently widowed after 40 years of marriage and struggling to establish an identity on her own. She's one of several elderly Brits who travel to a resort in Jaipur, India, that advertises itself as an elegant destination for retirees. In truth, the place is empty and falling apart, despite the best efforts of the enthusiastic, young manager who inherited the hotel from his father (Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire") to turn it into a palace. Each character experiences an obligatory moment of truth in this colorful, bustling city, but the plot machinations in the script from Ol Parker, based on the novel "These Foolish Things" by Deborah Moggach, feel rather creaky. PG-13 for sexual content and language. 122 minutes. Two stars out of four.

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